A REORGANISATION OF THE WINTERBINE SERIES
When I began writing The Castle of Heavenly Bliss, I had no intention of writing a series. I had been writing for several months, however, when I saw there was another story arising out of chapter 4, ‘The Pale Angel’. And when I finished the second book, In This Vale of Tears, I realised the story, though complete, was in a way left hanging. How would the main characters fare after they made the decisions that ended the story – or rather ended that phase in their lives? A third story formed in my head. Those who loved the first two books know there has been a long gap between the second book and the third. I am frequently asked when the third will be ready.
The way I had written the first two books presented some problems. Because the second book developed the backstory of Aine O’Riordan/Winterbine, it was mostly chronologically before the first. One of the problems came into sharp relief when the Catholic Reading Club in Melbourne discussed In This Vale of Tears at one of their meetings. One reader thought there was an abrupt transition in the story. She was right. That was because the information that would make the transition less abrupt was in The Castle of Heavenly Bliss. A second issue, something that had always bothered me, is the length of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss. It is too long, due mainly to the lengthy backstory at the beginning.
I had been contemplating these problems since the reading club evening when the solution suddenly occurred to me – strangely enough deep in the night. I would take the backstory out of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss, shift one chapter from The Castle of Heavenly Bliss to In This Vale of Tears and take two chapters out of In This Vale of Tears to form the basis of a new novel with the backstory from The Castle of Heavenly Bliss (three chapters). The fourth book, envisaged originally as the third, will carry on from In This Vale of Tears to form The Winterbine Tetralogy.
The new novel would be the first novel in the series with In This Vale of Tears the second, and The Castle of Heavenly Bliss the third. The chronological sequence would then be right. The first novel will develop the story of Fr van Engelen and his niece Anneke with the location of the story in Holland and England (Middelburg, Amsterdam and London). New characters will appear. The period will be from 1946 to 1972. The social background will be the 1960s student revolution. There will be no change to the established story although I will have to make adjustments in The Castle of Heavenly Bliss. This first book, as yet without a title, will provide the groundwork for the following three books.
I will begin writing Book One (no title as yet) in January 2019 after I have finished with Tony Abbott: The Times of Revolution. Stay alert for developments.